Like every other aspect of our daily lives, keeping up proper maintenance on your car has likely been thrown into a tailspin over the past 12 months. Most of us have not been driving nearly as much as we typically do, whether that’s because we’re working from home, getting more things delivered, not traveling as much or, most likely, a combination of everything.
It’s easy to think that a car not being used as much won’t have any maintenance issues. But believe it or not, a vehicle doesn’t need to leave your driveway to suffer wear and tear. Add to this the fact that we’re coming out of winter, a season notorious for being tough on cars, and into spring, when potholes and other dangerous driving conditions arise.
This is all to say you should get your car inspected, repaired and maintained before you resume your regular driving routine.
We spoke with Gary Pelletier, owner of Approved Automotive Repair facility Hillside Automotive Center to get a better understanding of what automotive issues to look for as well as the best car maintenance practices.
With spring approaching, are there any particular car maintenance tasks people should complete as winter comes to a close?
Potholes are usually formed by ice during the winter and begin to pop up all over the place once the the ice melts in the spring. To prevent any damage that can come from driving over potholes, a good front end and suspension inspection, along with annual alignment, should be done.
Many people have been working from home and driving much less than usual. What maintenance issues can arise from a car not getting its normal use?
When cars sit too long, rust can build up on brake rotors. This causes brake issues when first using your car after it’s been sitting. Batteries can also discharge and not be able to be recharged. Another problem that people rarely think about are mice and other rodents finding homes in areas housing the car’s wires where they can cause major damage.
What is the biggest car maintenance myth/misconception?
The biggest car maintenance misconception is that an oil change alone is proper vehicle maintenance. Changing your car’s oil is just one part of proper vehicle maintenance. You need to get your entire vehicle inspected.
What’s the most common mistake people make in regard to keeping their car in good shape?
The most common mistake is not following up on necessary maintenance and repairs recommended by service providers.
Any other best tips/practices for keeping your vehicle in good shape?
If you can keep your car garaged, do it. Also, make sure to wash your vehicle as we head into spring, either at home or at a professional shop. Car washes that offer undercarriage washes are beneficial for getting road salt off the bottom of vehicles.
For the best car care, find a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility near you.
AAA members can save on automotive replacement parts and accessories at NAPA.
What automotive questions do you have for our mechanics? Let us know in the comments below.